Fishing holds an especially important place in the world of water sports.
Long before it was enjoyed as a sporting activity, fishing was an essential part of survival and was indispensable to the progress of many civilizations around the globe. Early peoples flocked to areas where water was available to them, to sustain life in more ways than one. The evolution of fishing from survival mechanism to sporting activity naturally occurred as civilizations advanced in close proximity to bodies of water where they continued to rely upon the sustenance they found there.
Ok, so fast forward about 10,000 years from ancient Mesopotamia to the present day, and you have an outdoor activity that is so pervasive, you can’t travel to a corner of the world where fishing does not take place. From the warmest reaches of the tropics to the remotest parts of the wild, frozen frontier, fishing remains a vital recreational and commercial activity to this day.
In fact, fishing has never been more popular. Just take a look around… mom and pop tackle shops have become fishing mega outlets. Reality TV shows follow the lives of tuna and crab fishermen. Boats, equipment, gear and tackle have never been more advanced. It’s pretty easy to see that, for many, fishing goes far beyond a mere hobby, and often translates over time into something much more akin to a lifestyle.
So, what’s all the fuss about? Why is it that fishing is so popular and, if you haven’t ever tried, why is it you should try fishing yourself?
We thought you’d never ask. While we could probably go on for about an encyclopedia with all the reasons why fishing is so awesome, there are a few main ones that will give us a start, and then that way you can actually do other stuff today.
First and foremost, to enjoy fishing, you don’t have to have access to the ocean or one of the Great Lakes or even a rushing river or large reservoir.
Some of the most enjoyable fishing takes place in streams and creeks, stocked ponds and quarries, and all manner of other kinds of watering holes. The point is that, while many other water sports such as surfing, sailing and jet skiing, require access to larger bodies of water (and significantly more gear and equipment), fishing can be enjoyed in even the simplest of settings.
But wait! (you may protest). I still at least need a boat of some kind! Au contraire mi buen amigo. Many a fine day has been passed fishing from the side of a small creek, over the side of a canoe or from the end of a dock. You don’t need a lot of gear and equipment and you certainly don’t need to rent or own a boat to get going. A boat is nice to have… let’s be clear, but you’ll only need to think about that when you notch up your fishing experience to the next level, perhaps on a larger body of water.
This points to another wonderful aspect of fishing- the fact that there are so many uniquely different experiences available within the very same sport. I mean, just the difference in saltwater versus freshwater fishing! Within these different categories exist whole worlds of exciting adventures. From fly fishing to deep-sea fishing, bank fishing to netting and trapping, and everything in between, there is pretty much no limit to the varieties of fishing available to you. There is sure to be an experience that suits your exact preference. Now you just need to try a few of them out!
Within the world of sport fishing, most anything you’re likely to do will fall into the broad category of “angling.” This is the kind of fishing you’re used to seeing people doing on vacation, with the basic rod, line, hook and reel setup. This very broad category covers most sport fishing, including fly fishing and most recreational deep-sea fishing. Angling is a part of commercial fishing as well, but oftentimes includes more complex set ups to catch more fish at once. (Trolling, using big nets, multiple hooks on lines, etc.)
You might consider deep-sea fishing for a once-in-a-lifetime experience (until you catch the bug and want to do it again and again), if you’re going out with a big group at a beach destination. Unless you’re already the captain of your own craft, you’ll have a captain and first mate aboard your rented boat. They’ll be able to help you with everything you need, from going over safety precautions to understanding how to man the lines and take control of the action when the big one hits the hook.
For a more intimate experience, consider taking a small motorized, or even a paddle boat or canoe, out on a lake or reservoir.
Fishing is a recreational activity that can be just as relaxing as anything else. It can have a calming effect, as the nature of the sport involves patiently waiting, in almost any of its many varieties. This can make for the perfect environment for a couple or a small group to go out and enjoy some good memories together. To prepare for your day, you can check in with your local division of fish and wildlife to get acquainted with the varieties of marine life in your area.
You need to have a fishing license if you’re going out on your own (not under the license, for example, of an owner/operator with whom you are fishing on a rented boat). Rules and regulations vary from state to state, but you need to have a license. They are very affordable, most falling within the $20-$30 range for an in-state resident to purchase a license for the entire year. If you happen to be visiting another state for an extended period, licenses for non-residents can also be obtained for a higher, but very reasonable price.
Nowadays you can find all the gear and equipment you need at local tackle shops, specialty outlets and big box stores. Once you have your license and your gear in line, head over to our blog to check out some ideas for where to find some of the best fishing experiences in the U.S. and cast away!